The Australian Dream: Networked, Of Course

This week in BCM241: Media, Audience, Place we were asked to return to the person we spoke to about their relationship with television, to ask about how the Internet is altering their practices and spaces. Memories in Technicolour detailed my dear Nans life through a glass screen, and although I love her dearly and I couldn’t be happier with the original post, I wanted to take a different direction this week. One that would allow me to properly encapsulate the networked home. She may be a wealth of knowledge, but just this once I’d like a chance to share how I feel about how we network our lives and media spaces. (Sorry Nan).

I could use this space to discuss my how my house is connected to the Internet or how the NBN tragically failed to perform its intended function, or even what provider won out in advertising and cost for the Mullers. I’d rather talk about; a connected home. Delve into this world with me for a little bit.

In my mind, I live in this limbo. I believe we all do. As a media student, I believe I am more capable of being aware of this limbo and can understand it, however it leaves me in no position to properly tackle the uncertainty either. We live in a technologically demanding world, and we must keep pace with it in order to remain connected.

A portion of my understanding and feelings towards the networked home was born from award-winning journalist William Powers and his novel Hamlet’s Blackberry. He describes it as a room big enough to fit everyone you know and then some in it, and every now and then, someone consistently approaches you to ask you a question, ask a favour, or even just holds something up to show you – all demanding the same thing. A wee bit of your time and attention.

Excerpt from Hamlet’s Blackberry: by William Powers (pp. xii)

This constant connectedness is so hard to escape (particularly for media students), and as we keep adding devices to the plethora in our homes already, the door to escape the room gets narrower and narrower. They alter the way we deal with everyday situations, interactions and relationships, which in some ways has been improved and in some ways has severely affected – something that I like to call, the Hindered/Tindered conflict.

As Sherry Turkle puts it, “Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology.” As wrong as technology is to deal with real, face-to-face connectedness, it also intervenes in the most peculiar of ways. Do we have the ability to monitor these alterations in practice and interaction? Is this where ethnography enters the ball game? “It is dangerous to assume that youth are automatically informed. It is also naive to assume that so-called digital immigrants have nothing to offer. Even those who are afraid of technology can offer valuable critical perspective” (Boyd, 2015). I’ll leave you with that thought, now unplug for a while!

Much love,

Claudia

  • Manning, P. (2016). What has gone wrong with the NBN?. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-01/manning-what-went-wrong-with-the-nbn/7210408 [Accessed 18 Aug. 2017].
  • Powers, W. (2011). Hamlet’s BlackBerry. New York: Harper Perennial, p.xi-xiv.
  • Turkle, S. (2012). Connected, but alone?.
  • Boyd, D. (2015). It’s Complicated. New Haven, London: Yale University Press, p.177.
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